Kastong Monastery – A 360 Degree View
Perched on a small plateau carved out of the mountainside, medieval Kastong Monastery stands watch over the gateway to West Kameng. The intricate and beautifully maintained sambu which adorn doorframes, window encasements and even entire ceilings at this revered sacred site are reason alone to visit. But it is also from this unique vantage point, that the most breathtaking panoptic views of Dirang village and the surrounding valleys can be taken in.
Enter the timeworn compound via a yellow-roofed gatehouse, and images of Bhutanese and Tibetan chieftains of yore who once held their seats in Dirang are conjured up.
In the south east corner, a white-washed stupa stands just this side of a long craggy drop. Far below, Old Dirang town and the meandering River Gongri paint a pretty picture.
With one’s back to the promontory, the way leads under a small portico where radiant sambu and a kaleidoscopic Buddhist mandala at its apex hold a viewer’s gaze captive.
Now, eyes fall on the facade of Kastong Monastery itself. From within ancient walls, the mellow echo of monks chanting can be heard and an aura of tranquillity gently fills the courtyard.
Proceed in a clockwise direction along the south west edifice and come full circle. Now Sangti Valley and the majestic mountains beyond dominate the glorious horizon.